Alumni Profile: Richard G. Weimer

Richard Weimer Architects
Thibodaux, LA

Provide an educational background including professional experience.

Attended one year at Nicholls State Junior College, Thibodaux, La. (1957)
Enrolled in the second full 5-year Architectural Class at LSU in 1958, which was part of the College of Engineering and graduated. (1963)
Throughout my educational experience, my goal was to work in the City of Thibodaux, which is close to the St. Charles Community, where I was reared among sugar cane farmers. I started working for Fernand T. Picou in Thibodaux. (1963)

Served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an officer from 1964 to 1966 and had a great Army experience in France, a living history book of outstanding architecture. I became a partner in Picou’s firm, managed various partnerships, and now I am sole owner of Richard Weimer Architect, AIA, LLC.

The profession has changed greatly since the early 1960’s. My most memorable experiences include: no racially segregated facilities, air conditioning in all buildings, designing for the physically impaired, escalation of building codes and inspection agencies, the need for pro- fessional liability insurance (not needed prior to 1966), introduction of Xerox-type copiers to replace ditto machines, the evolvement of typewriters and hand drafting to exclusive use of computers, proliferation of paper work and documentation, introduction of 16 divisions and master specifications, large variety of materials including plastics, more complex build- ings, and last but not least, the inclusion of technology in all facilities.

Why did you choose LSU for your education?

The people of Thibodaux for generations have had a love for LSU and its athletic tradition. While growing up, I would hear friends talk about this great school. When I decided to explore architecture during my senior year at Thibodaux College Catholic High School, my father and I visited with Pat Staub, a freshman class professor. He was very gracious and I knew right then that LSU was for me. He showed interest in my career throughout the five years in school and even afterwards.

How did your LSU degree help to prepare you for your profession?

As a new 5-year School of Architecture, there was much excitement and determination to make it successful and become accredited. Men like O. J. Baker, Head of the Department, and Professor Robert Heck, my mentor, prepared us very well for the real world. Once graduated, we were ready to contribute to the profession and pass the Architectural Registration Exam.

What current or past research and projects/exhibitions have you done?

In the past and presently, I am involved with historic restoration on such great buildings as the Lafourche Parish Courthouse, St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, and Chatchie Plantation Home – a wonderful raised Creole Cottage. I was instrumental in helping to create the program and design the Lafourche Parish Juvenile Justice Facility, one of the first juvenile facilities in the state to provide services to children in need, including Emergency Shelter, Community Home, Detention, and Outreach Programs on the same site.

I have helped the Nicholls State University Foundation during the last few years to develop a program for and design the proposed Chef John Folse Culinary Arts Building, for which fund-raising is currently underway. My current and most active repeat clients are the La- fourche Parish School Board, E.D. White Catholic High School, local public housing authori- ties, the Lafourche Parish Government, and Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Please list any awards or special recognition that you have received.

M.N. Davidson Scholarship for outstanding sophomore student, LSU. (1960)
Honor Award by the Louisiana Architects Association for Thibodaux Recreational Park Redevelopment, in conjunction with Steve Gossen, Architect. (1968)
Outstanding Young Man in Thibodaux. (1969)
Bishop’s Medal for Outstanding Service to the Church. (1998)
Community Service Award, AIA Louisiana. (1998)

What are your plans for the future?

After 40 years of practicing architecture and 2 years in the US Army, I plan to continue working for the next few years, and hopefully find a new LSU graduate to train and continue my firm into perpetuity. Shortly I will begin to slow down, spend more time with my grandchildren, travel more, and help my new graduate employee become a successful architect.

On a personal level, I am married for 40 years to Judith Meyn Weimer who is now my business partner and office manager. Our five children, four of whom are married, are all graduates of LSU as are their spouses. I am proud of the LSU tradition and 16 LSU degrees in our family.